goals vs systems

Goals vs Systems: Which should you focus on?

Second CRM Team's picture

Popular sentiment says you should always keep your eyes on the prize. But on the other hand, you need to learn to walk before you can run. Sometimes pushing for big-picture results can be detrimental. This is not to say that you shouldn’t have a goal in mind – in keeping with the running theme of this blog, we always want you to Be Profitable. However, having a proclamation like that hanging over your head (and indeed, the heads of your employees) can be daunting.

What we are talking about here is creating and nurturing the right balance in focusing between goals and a sustainable system that can help you get there.

What is the difference between goals and systems?
  • If you’re an entrepreneur, your goal is to build a million dollar business. Your system is your sales and marketing process.
  • If you’re a sales rep, your goal is to meet sales targets. Your system is converting leads and closing deals with a good sales pitch.
  • If you’re an admin manager, your goal is to make sure administrative tasks run smoothly and efficiently. Your system is maintaining good organisation and document management.

You need to set realistic goals, and have a good system in place to reach them. Here are a few reasons why focusing exclusively on goals can hurt your business:

  1. Goals reduce your current happiness.
    Having nothing but a big picture goal (like reaching $100,000 in sales this month) can be daunting. It feels great when you manage to reach that goal, but you’re essentially putting off happiness until that goal is reached, and god forbid if you somehow undershoot your target.

    In the case of working to finish a project, procrastination becomes an issue. Procrastination happens for a variety of reasons, the most common of which are lack of motivation and fear of failure. Don’t worry, you can work around this.

    Solution: Commit to a system, not a goal.
    Make use of the tools at your disposal. Having a good calendar system and the ability to schedule events and to-dos will go a long way towards helping you break that goal down into more manageable tasks. Doing so will also help cut down on the inevitable procrastination, as you can get gratification from finishing tasks one by one instead of being demotivated by your goal.

    Take it one day (or week) at a time, move as many prospects through the sales pipeline as you can with good management and organisation. It will show in your sales accretion, and do wonders for your stress levels.


  2. Goals are strangely at odds with long-term progress.
    Sales is undoubtedly a process, as any rep would tell you. The same healthy competition that drives growth and innovation creates consumers that are increasingly selective of their purchases. Consumers are well-informed, and the slightest thing can send them looking toward your competition.

    Goals are about the short-term result. Systems are about the long-term process.

    Because of this, there has been a paradigm shift: it’s not just about close rates and quotas, but about building long-term collaborative customer relationships. The goal-oriented sales rep doing the hard sell will leave prospects feeling railroaded and put-off, as consumers are increasingly resistant to hard selling tactics.

    Solution: Release the need for immediate results.
    The focus has moved from the hard sell and aggressive sales tactics that consumers are increasingly resistant to, towards soft selling and persuasion. Similarly, systems-based thinking is never about hitting a particular number; it’s about sticking to the process.

    Find a sales process that works for you and stick to it. A good sales or customer service rep always keeps the customer in mind, so use the tools at your disposal to make sure you provide quality service at every customer touch point. This goes a long way in fostering lasting customer relationships. Use an invoicing tool to make sales documentation more efficient or service requests to streamline issue resolution and reduce customer wait time. You will see the difference in your rate of return.


  3. Goals suggest that you can control things that you have no control over.
    No one can predict the future. Sometimes even the best laid plans are doomed to fail, since there might be unforeseen circumstances that get in the way of goals. Working towards a goal involves making certain assumptions about cause and effect, which don’t take into account forces beyond our control.

    Solution: Build feedback loops.
    A good reporting system is key here. For example, you can schedule a pipeline report on your dashboard that shows you the weekly lead conversion rate for your business. Don’t stress out so much about this number, but use it to build a feedback loop that informs you of how your business is performing.

    A weekly report might coincide with the launch of a marketing campaign – use it to gauge what works for your business, and identify areas of improvement (Pro tip: Make use of customer surveys!). Reports are integral to a good system, as it signals when adjustments need to be made. Use them to maximise your ROI and build a business process you can count on.


You can do all of this by using Second CRM to schedule events, automate functions, create reports and more. Engage with us today!



Second CRM is an award winning business automation solution, designed to make medium to large corporations more productive, by automating their business operations, using Internet and mobile technologies. Second CRM focuses on improving sales & marketing, customer support and operations.